News (2006-2016) News 2010 News Newly Launched Recycling Point at Serangoon

Newly Launched Recycling Point at Serangoon

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The recycling point at Block 241, Serangoon Avenue 3 was recently launched on 14 November. The 14th of its kind set up by Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore Branch), the point is well received by the public and is set to contribute an additional effort to the local green movement.

(Photo: Lim Chee Wah)

At the recyclable classification zone, volunteers are explaining and illustrating to the residents the proper methods. (Photo: Lim Chee Wah)
A group of elderly residents bring from their home recyclables for classification while engaged in casual conversation among themselves. (Photo: Lim Chee Wah)
Fang Mei Yun, who lives in a unit above the recycling point, comes with her daughter and her relative’s child. Pushing a trolley of recyclables, she calls on neighbours she meets on the way to participate in the activity. (Photo: Lim Chee Wah)
Those who live farther drive their recyclables to the recycling point. (Photo: Lim Chee Wah)
Student Tang Yi Tian, a beneficiary of Tzu Chi's bursary programme, takes a bus from Pasir Ris to come to the recycling point where he spends a meaningful weekend. (Photo: Lim Chee Wah)

Tzu Chi’s recycling activities in various communities in Singapore have been spread through word of mouth, and many community grassroots organizations have expressed their wish to collaborate with the Foundation in recycling trash to promote environmentalism among their residents.

Braddell Heights Zone 'A' Residents’ Committee contacted Tzu Chi in August this year to discuss about setting up a recycling point. An agreement was reached between the two parties and Serangoon recycling point was born.

Tzu Chi volunteers living in the southeast have discussed and planned together in detail with the Residents’ Committee over a few months, and they even organized three big scale publicity sessions to create awareness among the residents: at the mid-autumn festival celebration at Zhonghua Secondary School, Flats Cleaning Day and at the qigong patting class attended by residents of the community.

During the publicity session for the qigong patting class on 23 Oct, 18 volunteers set up display boards at the community square and market, and distributed flyers and monthly publications to the residents to generate publicity for the recycling point. There were also skit performance with the theme of environmentalism, and introduction of Da Ai Technology's eco-fabric creations to the qigong students.

On 8 Nov, 54 volunteers visited the five HDB flats near the recycling point after work to personally inform each of the households about the launch of the recycling point. To their delight, some of the residents informed that they had already collected recyclables for the upcoming activity as they were at the publicity session at the qigong class.

Team spirit in display

At the break of dawn around 6.30am on 14 Nov, volunteers from East 2 Zone gathered at Block 241 and started preparing for the event.

“This is the area for information dissemination and sharing. Recycling and sorting are to be done over there. And let’s put the sandbags here.” The lanky team leader of volunteer group 5, Joyce Goh and recycling committee leader, Cheng Eng Teck, were seen strategizing together in the V-shape space at the void deck of Block 241 for a smooth operation that would not create inconveniences to the residents.

All the volunteers were cooperative and consultative among themselves, all aimed to achieve perfection in every single detail.

Making environmentalism integral

Residents in the neighbourhood went about their daily activities as usual on that sunny Sunday morning. But they soon noticed something different when they walked past block 241 that morning, and very soon a crowd formed.

The volunteers went forward and invited the residents sincerely to visit their exhibition area. “We are volunteers from Tzu Chi’s environmental protection group. From today onwards, we will have recycling activity here on the second Sunday of every month. You are most welcome to join us.”

On one hand, there was a more relaxed zone displaying the eco-friendly products of Jing Si Publication and Da Ai Technology Co. Ltd., as well as information boards about environmentalism and how to lead an eco-friendly life. On the other hand, there was a bustling zone that focused on recyclables collection, sorting, and sorting demonstration. What had been an empty space was turned into a unique space that has both the relaxed and busy activities coexisting side by side.

“You see, all these bottles and paper can be recycled and reused.” The volunteers took pains to explain in front of the portable mini recyclables classification bins, creations of volunteer Goh Chen Chew, who is affectionately known as Papa Wu.

“All these can be recycled and reused, and we threw them away in the past, what a waste!” Many lamented, and among them was 78-year-old Jiang Jiaomei. Upon seeing how PET bottles could be turned into clothes and blankets, the senior was amazed and bought a light green eco-shirt happily.

Grandma Jiang and her 14 good friends from the residents’ committee – quite a number of them over 70 years old – brought items from home for recycling purposes. Sitting on small stools and engaged in lively conversation, they were very much enjoying themselves while classifying the recyclables.

“It is very enjoyable doing recycling work! I want to join you every month.” Grandma Jiang laughed happily while she said, and all her good friends expressed the same sentiment.

Positive effort to reshape communities

Living in a unit above the recycling point, Fang Mei Yun took part in the activity with her daughter and her relative’s child. She was adept at classifying the old clothes, and was inviting her neighbours who passed by to join her.

“Recycling is a very meaningful thing to do!" she said chirpily, "I have no time to do voluntary work during weekdays, now I can do it by just coming down to the ground floor, all the more I must capitalize on the opportunity.”

Another resident Li Miao Ying made seven trips to the recycling point, bringing each trip with her items for recycling. Mdm Li is a cleaner and brings home items that she comes across at work for recycling purposes. The very cordial and heartwarming atmosphere at the recycling point made her feel that she had entered a big happy family.

One who frequently listens to radio broadcasts, Mdm Li said, “The radio station keeps saying our Earth is contaminated, so we have to do our part to protect the environment.” Mdm Li even promised the volunteers that she will show up every month punctually.

Also at the recycling point was a student from Zhonghua Secondary School, Tang Yitian. The Secondary 3 is also a beneficiary of Tzu Chi's "Seeds of Hope" bursary programme. In the past, Tang preferred to stay at home to do his schoolwork, watch television or play computer games.

But that day, he made a special trip to the recycling point by bus from Pasir Ris. He was seen sorting through the old newspapers and carton boxes. Despite drenching in sweat shortly after he had begun, the youngster said, “This is a very meaningful weekend for me. I hope to influence my friends to join me too in future.”

Mr Gary Tan, Chairman of the Braddell Heights Zone 'A' Residents’ Committee, too brought his committee members to the recycling point.

He commented that Tzu Chi's recycling activities are killing two birds with one stone as they are also charitable activities (Note: Proceeds from the sales of the recyclables are channelled to the charity fund of Tzu Chi Singapore). Mr Tan hopes that through the recycling point in Serangoon, more residents will be inspired to pay more attention to protect the environment.

Master Cheng Yan first philosophized and expounded “quality recycling and achieving purity at the origin” at the beginning of the year. All resources collected for recycling must be thoroughly cleaned. To achieve purity at the origin, each individual has to reduce his consumption of resources and to reduce wastage.

We hope that through the efforts of the volunteers, and the active participation of the residents of the community, the concept of environmental conservation will spread and reach many more, inspiring them to join us and augment the efforts to protect the Earth.

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